Shozaburo Jimi, minister-in-charge of financial services and postal reform under the previous government, told local media on January 30 that with Okinawa’s history of having “independence movements and movements for self-governance” it is not so unlikely that they would want to cede from the central government in order to be its own independent state. “Domestic guerrilla (struggles) could occur as a result of separatist movements,” and that “terrorist bombings could occur in Tokyo, depending on how the state handles” the issue on the United States military bases in Okinawa, said Jimi.
The statements of Jimi are seen as an attempt to persuade the central government to lessen the burden of the southern Japanese prefecture, the very reluctant host of more than half of the total 47,000 U.S. military personnel in Japan. His comments come after it was announced that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is set to go on a one-day visit to the prefecture this weekend. It will be remembered that one of Abe’s policies, upon taking office, is the strengthening of the Japan-U.S. military alliance, and that he has already said that he will proceed with the unpopular plan to transfer the Futenma military airbase from a severely populated area to one that is less dense, but still within the Okinawa Prefecture.
Domestic terrorism plagued Japan all throughout the 60s and 70s, where the country saw a huge social upheaval of radicalist and student movements. But Japan has since escaped the damages brought about by organized political violence, for the most part. However, as Jimi opined, it is not impossible for us to witness its return. After all, the already quarrelsome relationship between the U.S. military and its hosts in Okinawa just keeps getting uglier.[via FMT]